Historic Blairsden Estate Opens to Public

The Blairsden Estate in Peapack Gladstone, New Jersey, is certainly one of the greatest examble of beaux arts mansions in the United States. For a short thirty day window this private estate is open to the public as part of Mansion in May, that started back in 1974 with the Women’s Association of Morristown Medical Center (WAMMC) and has raised over $8 million for worthwhile causes at Morristown Medical Center.

Historic Blairsden in Peapack Gladstone is open to the public from May 1 - 30, 2014 and is one of America's greatest estates. Over 62,000 square feet - the mountain was chopped by 15 feet to build the estate.
Historic Blairsden in Peapack Gladstone is open to the public from May 1 – 30, 2014. As one of America’s greatest estates, at over 62,000 square feet, many don’t know that the mountain was actually cropped by 15 feet to build the estate.

 

Blairsden, built in the late 1890’s was Over sixty designers have spent months preparing for the Mansion in May exhibit.

c ledyard blairBlairsden is the name of the Peapack, New Jersey estate named after its original owner C. Ledyard Blair, a prominent investment banker and ambitious entrepreneur who recognized the beauty of the beautiful Somerset Hills area and decided to build one of the largest estates ever built in the region.

At its time Blairsden was designed and built by Carrere and Hastings with state of the art technologies that actually still function today. Advanced heating and ductwork, water pumping systems, whole house intercoms, refridgeration, electricity, fire prevention systems are just a few of the advanced technologies.

The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills is a local history organization that has followed the history of Blairsden and states that Blairden is “the most searched history topic on their website” . Some of the best storytellers of Blairsden’s history are W. Barry Thomson and John Charles Smith, two residents who’ve had direct involvement with Blairsden over the years. Mr. Thomson actually was raised on the Blairsden

NJ Country Homes Vol 1 by W. Barry Thomson and J. Turpin.
NJ Country Homes Vol 1 by W. Barry Thomson and J. Turpin.

Estate’s lower property and noted that “I was often chased by the nuns while exploring the Blairsden property as a child.” The book “New Jersey Country Estates – The Somerset Hills  Vol 1 and 2 written by Barry Thomson and Jack Turpin serves today as the best reference to the history of Blairsden.

Barry will be speaking about Blairsden on May 15, 2015 at the Brick Academy in Basking Ridge (7:30pm -seating is limited) . Details can be found on the THSSH website.

John Smith, a former Trustee at THSSH has been invloved with landscape architecture on the property for some of the previous owners. John, being a history buff also created a early 1930’s reconstruction of all of the estate properties in a beautiful period map.

A small cutout of John Charles Smith's historic rendering of the Estates of the early 20th century in the Somerset Hills
A small cutout of John Charles Smith’s historic rendering of the Estates of the early 20th century in the Somerset Hills

Mansion in May – Artists and Designers Profiles

Over 60 artists and designers participate in the 2014 Mansion in May. Each room covering two floors and exterior spaces are used for the designers and artists to express their crafts using Blairsden as the backdrop. Listen to the experiences of two of the MIM participants below:

Above: Artist Andrew Tedesco shows how he ties modern with a historic flare to decorate the entrance ceiling at Blairsden. As with all exhibits at the Mansion in May, if the owner decides they don’t want the decorations, then they come down and are removed forever. And see Andrews website for more stunning art examples at www.andrewtedesco.com

Abobe: Andrews Time lapse video of his Blairsden project

Above: Art Gallery owner James Yarosh of Holmdel, New Jersey shows how he’s transfored the former private family Atrium of C. Ledyard Blair at Blairsden. Click Here to take a tour – www.jamesyarosh/blairsden

View from the Blairsden terrace looking south towards Pluckemin.
View from the Blairsden terrace looking south towards Pluckemin.

And lastly, couldn’t resist that while waiting for the transportation to return to the parking area, a number of nuns were seen visiting Blairsden.  St. John the Baptist was once owners of Blairsden. While the internet has been a bit unkind to the nuns protraying spooky stories of murder, death, and hauntings, nothing could be further from the truth. It never happened. That’s for sure.

Blairsden_2014 203
Mansion in May 2014 opening at Blairsden. Even the former owners, the Nuns. wanted to see Blairsden

In the near future, a complete set of short narrated videos will be loaded to the Historical Society of the Somerset Hills website – www.thssh.org.

The Mansion in May at Blairsden is open from May 1 – 30 only. Since the estate is privately owned, don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime events to see one of the greatest mansions ever built.

 

 

 

 

 

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